MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) -- Bahrain ordered a top U.S. diplomat to leave the country on Monday, the Foreign Ministry said, after he met with a leading Shiite opposition group.
The ministry said in a statement that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski is not welcome in Bahrain. It said he intervened in the country's domestic affairs by holding meetings with some groups at the expense of others.
The statement said that such meetings "segregate" the people of the nation. His actions, added the statement, "run counter to conventional diplomatic norms."
Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.
Despite the diplomatic spat, the Foreign Ministry statement said relations between Bahrain and the U.S. remain strong and important.
"The government of Bahrain asserts that this should not in any way affect the two countries' relationship of mutual interests," the statement said.
Malinowski was ordered to leave after meeting with Bahrain's Shiite opposition group, Al Wifaq. He arrived in the country on Sunday and was scheduled to stay for three days, but his visit was cut short by the abrupt order to depart a day early.
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